Wednesday, 11 December 2019 - Imphal Times

IT News
Imphal, 11 December:
A collective of 226 concern individuals, organization representatives, women, LGBT and men have put in their signature in a letter sent to the Chief Minister of Manipur seeking for a replacement of the present Chairperson of the Manipur State Commission for Women, Dr.M Binota Devi , today 11th December 2019.  These signatures are collected with 2 days.
This outpour has come in the aftermath of a public statement given by the Chairperson to the media in the state recently. The chairperson had stated that the “morality” of women in Manipur have degraded and that she would like to see married, unmarried women and men to uphold the social norms and laws of the land. She went on to state that “women do not feel any moral scruples even if they have eloped two/three times and some of them have even adopted elopement as a means of earning big money”. That such immoral” women needed to be brought back to the “right path”.

The Chairperson’s irresponsible remarks and statement is unbecoming of the Chair that she currently holds. This is questionable and the esteemed institution that the current Chairperson is leading has been downgraded under such irresponsible leadership.  It is unfortunate for the citizens of the state at large and the women in particular.

As such the signatories (appended below) are deeply concerned about the functioning of the State Women Commission. In a situation where the head of the institution has no qualms about raising the issue of “morality” according to her own standard, the public statement of the Chairperson of the Women Commission is extremely regressive.

While the State Commission for Women is mandated to defend Human Rights and work towards women empowerment, take up matters regarding rights violations, its Chairperson has done exactly the opposite. Rather than be a Commission that provides legal help and stand as a human rights defender for women, the Commission has turned into a ‘kangaroo court’. In its present state, the Commission for Women is not serving the section or community it is meant to serve. 

The Letter to the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Government of Manipur is to seek a replacement for a better, more mature Chairperson with integrity, a person who is well aware, is informed and understand issues that affect the personal and political integrity of women.

( Letter and Signatories produced below)

Shri. N. Biren Singh 

Hon’ble Chief Minister 



Subject: Concern over functioning of Manipur State Commission for Women & Seeking of replacement of present Chairperson. 


Dear Sir, 


The citizens of Manipur at large, women in particular and the signatories appended below are extremely concerned over the present functioning of the State Commission for Women under the current leadership of its Chairperson.

We are shocked and disturbed over the recent statement made by the Commission’s Chairperson Smt. Dr. M.Binota on “morality, social norms, laws of the land”. You may refer to media reports of 3rd December 2019, wherein the Chairperson was quoted to have stated that the “morality” of women in Manipur have degraded and that she would like to see married, unmarried women and men to uphold the social norms and laws of the land. She had even went on to state that “women do not feel any moral scruples even if they have eloped two/three times and some of them have even adopted elopement as a means of earning big money”. Such a statement does not reflect the maturity that is required of a Chairperson of the Women Commission for it lays blame on young women in the state.

This sweeping statement not only shames young women but can instead lead to more victimization and exploitation of young women in the state with men being given a clear chit.

We respect and place the State Commission in high esteem. But the recent acts and statements by its current Chairperson is very unfortunate and not only brings down the status of the Commission but also has revealed its lack of integrity. This is unfortunate for the women folk of the state in particular and the general public at large.

The Women Commission as represented by its Chairperson has done exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do. Rather than be a Commission that provides legal help and stand as a human rights defender for women, the Commission had turned into a ‘kangaroo court’. In its present state, the Commission for Women is not serving the section or community it is meant to serve. 

We wish and seek that State Women Commission work towards achieving it stated mandate (Section -10, National Commission for Women Act, 1990 Act no.20 pf 1990 of Govt of India). 

We look forward to your intervention and ensure that the State Commission for Women function as per its stated mandate and work towards emancipation of women’s right.

Towards this, we sincerely request you to replace the current serving Chairperson with a more qualified person who is sensitive and politically aware about women issues.  This need not be in terms of academic qualifications but a person who has the integrity, the understanding, the know-how; a person who is well versed, experienced and someone who can strengthen the Women Commission and not downgrade it.

We hope for your speedy action for the betterment of the women in the state of Manipur and the overall welfare of the general citizens of the state at large. 




Published in News

IT News

Imphal, Dec 11

Amidst hue and cry over the passing of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, which was passed at Lok Sabha, the long pending demand of the people of Manipur has been fulfilled after the President of India has assented extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 with effect from today. An extraordinary Gazette notification in this regard has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh talking to media persons today morning said that as a gazette notification for extension of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 has been officially published and come into force from today, the contentious CAB has been exempted from the state of Manipur.

Until yesterday, the Chief Minister received severe criticism for large scale celebration in the state of Manipur as a response to the announcement by Home Minister for the extension of BEFR 1873 during the debate for passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 1873, as the announcement did not involve the extension of the ILPS legislation.

“Today the BJP led government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has proved that our leaders not only give assurances but convert their promises to action”, a jubilant Chief Minister said.

He further added that as Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 has been extended with immediate effect the state of Manipur has been exempted from the purview of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, which the people has been demanding .

The Extraordinary Gazette of India published today in the name of the president of India by the Minister of Home Affairs under the heading The Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) order, 2019 read –

“In exercise of the power conferred by clause (2) of article 372 of the Constitution of India and all other power enabling him in that behalf, the President is pleased to make the following order namely

  1. (1) This order may by called the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment ) Order, 2019.

(2) It shall come into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette

  1. In the Third Schedule to the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950, for the directions relating to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 the following shall be substituted, namely :-

Preamble – In the opening paragraph , for “ districts of Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, Naga Hills, Cachar” substitute “ State of Arunachal Pradesh , Manipur, Mizoram, and areas of State of Nagaland as notified from time to time.

Mention may be made that in section 3 clause 4 of the citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 , it has been stated that “ Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam Meghalaya , Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under “The Inner Line “ Notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873”. 

Published in News

IT News

New Delhi, Dec 11

Home Minister Amit Shah today asserted that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is not against the Muslims. He said they will continue to enjoy the rights given to them as citizens of the country. Moving the Bill in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passing, Mr. Shah said that a misconception has been created that the legislation is against a particular community, which is not true. He assured the Muslim community not to worry about the legislation as there is nothing against them in it. Clearing fears of the people from the North-Eastern States, the Home Minister said the bill will not affect their interests. He said the NDA government is committed to preserving their cultural, social and linguistic identities. Mr. Shah said the legislation will give bring a new light into the lives of the people who were facing religious persecution in neighboring countries, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Published in News
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:27

5 arrested students refuse to get bail on PR bond

IT News

The students’ leaders of All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), Jiribam District Committee who were arrested by the Jiribam District police during the 15 - hours total shut down agitation opposing the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 have refused to get bail on signing PR Bond.
Today the District Police has brought up them to the Civil Judge Junior Division /Judicial Magistrate First Class, Jiribam court.
During the hearing, the Jiribam District police has submitted a prayer before the Judge to remand them into Judicial custody for 15 days, in which the above court Judge has accepted the prayers.
They  were arrested by  District police Jiribam at  around 4:30 pm yesterday.
The  arrested students leaders of Jiribam District are Y. Sanjiv Singh, Advisor AMSU District Committee, Jiribam ; W. Democha Singh, President, Thanil Thokchom, General Secretary, M. Bishal Singh, HRD Secretary, N. Tony Singh and Aheibam Ratan Singh.
when they were coming out from the court room the arrested students leaders shouted slogan “Long Live Manipur”, We opposed CAB in Manipur “.

Published in News
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:26

National symposium on Nematodes begins

IT News
Imphal, Dec. 11

A three day National Symposium on Nematodes – a threat to food security and farmers’ livelihood began today at the Senate Hall, Earth Science Building of Manipur University. The 3 day seminar is being organised jointly by the Nematological Society of India, New Delhi, Manipur University Canchipur and Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.
The inaugural session was attended by Vice Chancellor of Manipur University , Jarnail Singh as the Chief Guest while Dr. Pankaj , the Vice President of the Nematological Society of India presided over the function. Professor of Life Sciences, Manipur University G. A. Shantibala Devi also attended as Guest of honour.
Professor N. Mohilal Meitei, who is also the local organizing secretary of the seminar while talking to media persons at the sideline of the inaugural function said that the seminar will enhance additional knowledge to the people who are in the field particularly those doing research in life science. All together 50 Nematologists from across the country are attending in the seminar, In addition to this 20 experts in the field from the state of Manipur.  

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, Dec. 11

 Manipuri short documentary based on Meira Paibi has been selected in Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. The short documentary, Fireflies directed by Johnson Rajkumar will be screened in the festival on December 13 in Kathmandu. 
The film articulates the journey of Meira Paibi in their struggles to protect the community from atrocities committed by the State. It explores the role of women in the conflict-ridden, male-dominated society of Manipur. Through powerful testimonies, the film looks into how gender identities are negotiated during the time of conflict and violence.
Fireflies had previously won Best Short Documentary in Arthouse Asia International Film Festival, Kolkata and won 2ndplace in short documentary section in Chennai International Short Film Festival. The film had been selected in several International and National film festivals including, Golden Tree International Documentary Film Festival in Frankfurt, Dada Saheb Phalke International Film Festival in Mumbai, Davis Feminist Film Festival in California, Human Rights Short Film Festival in Dhaka.

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, Dec. 11

 Manipuri short documentary based on Meira Paibi has been selected in Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival. The short documentary, Fireflies directed by Johnson Rajkumar will be screened in the festival on December 13 in Kathmandu. 
The film articulates the journey of Meira Paibi in their struggles to protect the community from atrocities committed by the State. It explores the role of women in the conflict-ridden, male-dominated society of Manipur. Through powerful testimonies, the film looks into how gender identities are negotiated during the time of conflict and violence.
Fireflies had previously won Best Short Documentary in Arthouse Asia International Film Festival, Kolkata and won 2ndplace in short documentary section in Chennai International Short Film Festival. The film had been selected in several International and National film festivals including, Golden Tree International Documentary Film Festival in Frankfurt, Dada Saheb Phalke International Film Festival in Mumbai, Davis Feminist Film Festival in California, Human Rights Short Film Festival in Dhaka.

Published in News
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:15

Noise Pollution & its effect

 Noise pollution is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms. According to World Health Organization (WHO) sound levels less than 70dB (decibel) are not damaging to living organisms, regardless of how long or consistent the exposure is. Sound that cause discomfort to the ears that produce unpleasant effects or are unwanted are considered to be noise. Noise pollution generally interferes with normal activities, e.g. conversation or sleeping. The normal conversation is about 60dB, a lawn mower is about 90dB and a loud rock concert is about 120dB. In general sound above 85dB are harmful depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them and whether you wear hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs. Continuous noise, intermittent noise, impulsive noise and low frequency noise are four different types of noise according to their source and nature. Noise pollution is caused by the noise when the level of noise gets increased than the normal level in the environment. Excessive amount of noise in the environment is unsafe for the living purpose. Unpleasant sound causes various disadvantages in the natural balance. High volume noise are unnatural and create difficulty in escaping those generated noises. In such a modern and technological world, where everything is possible through electrical appliances at home or outside the home, the risk of noise has been increased to a great extent. Increasing the demand of urbanization and industrialization in India, is causing major exposure of people to the unwanted sounds. The sound we make in our everyday life like loud music, unnecessary use of Television, phone, traffic, dog barking and etc. noise creating sounds have become part of the urban culture, as well as most disturbing things causing headache, sleep disturbance, stress etc. Those things causing disturbances to the natural rhythm of life are called as dangerous pollutions.
        Industrialization is putting our health and life at risk because all the (big or small) industries are using big machines producing high pitch sound in large amounts. Other equipment                (Compressors, generators, exhaust fans, grinding mills) used in the factories and industries also produce big noise. Regular social events like marriages, parties, pub, club, disc or place of worship temples etc create nuisance in the residential areas. In our Manipur also such things are happening most of the time as we experienced during Holi (Yaosang) festival, Lai haraoba and during many other occasions. During Yaosang, in day time, clubs organizing Yaosang Sports used loud speakers and shouted IN-OUT, IN-OUT from all places in Manipur valley. And in the night time the loud sound of THABAL CHONGBA disturbed many people making sleepless even up to the late night. During the LAI HARAOBA also, loud sound can be heard from the early morning in the form of Lai Pena Yakaiba, then maibi laimang famba when the sun’s heat strike all people at around 10 to 12 o’clock. In the afternoon, from around 2pm again started traditional Lai haraoba dance with loud sound of band party which will continue up to late night. Not only this, we also experienced the same problem during Druga Puja or Panthoibi Erat thouni time augmented with Housie play. What a horrible life we are living in the name of religion, tradition & culture!! Even yesterday, one of the most responsible person of our state announced to organize Thabal Chongba anywhere in Manipur to express happiness of announcing as Manipur will be an ILP state during crucial examination time of all schools in Manipur.  Can’t we carry out all these activities & rituals even without loud speakers? Again non-stopped noise of crackers in various parts of India during Druga puja and Diwali as well as the noise of diesel autos in Khwairamban Keithel are not the least to be mentioned.   Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in residential areas. Some of the main sources of noise in residential area include loud music, transportation noise, and lawn care maintenance, nearby construction, explosion or young people yelling (Sports games). Noise pollution associated with household electricity generators is an emerging environmental degradation in many developing nations. The average noise level of 97.60 dB obtained exceeded the WHO value of 50dB allowed for residential areas. Research suggests that noise pollution is the highest in low-income and racial minority neighborhood. Documented problems associated with urban Environment noise go back as far as ancient Rome. Noise pollution causes various hearing problems (damage to ear drums and loss of hearing) because of the unwanted sound. It reduces ear sensitivity to the sound required to regulate body rhythm. It affects the psychological health and cause the occurrence of aggressive behavior, sleep disturbance, stress, and weakness, fatigue hypertension, cardio-vascular diseases including other severe and chronic health issue in later life. It creates communication problems and lead to misunderstanding. It also affects wildlife and makes pets more aggressive. In animals, noise can increase the risk of death by altering predator or prey detection and avoidance, interfere with reproduction and navigation and contribute to permanent hearing loss. It also affects the plants and causes poor quality crop production. The effects that noise has on children may be permanent. Noise poses a serious threat to child’s physical and psychological health and may negatively interfere with child’s hearing and behavior.
       Constitution of India guarantee right to life, right to information, right to religion and noise. Section 133 empower human being to remove a public nuisance on a conditional or permanent order. Noise pollution control Rule 2000 under Environment protection Act 1996 involves controlling the growing problem of noise pollution. Factories Act Reduction of noise and oil of machineries limits for noise exposure in work zone. Motor vehicle Act involves the use of horn and change of engines. Indian penal code deals with the health and safety issues caused by the noise pollution. One can be penalized under law of torts. Increasing level of noise pollution has created the urgent need of general awareness about the sources, effects and preventive measures of noise pollution. High level of noise should be prohibited in the areas like working place, Educational institutes, and residential areas etc. Understanding, planning and implementing strategies to get prevented from the noise pollution has been necessary to curb within time. Young children and students should be motivated not to get involved in the high sound producing act like use of high sound generating equipment and instruct on the occasions. Use of high level sound generating fire crackers should be reduced during the occasions like festivals, parties, marriage etc.  Subjects related to the noise pollution should be added to the textbooks and activities can be organized in the schools like lectures, discussion etc. so that new generations can be more aware and responsible citizens.         
     The writer can be reached at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 17:14

Traffic mess again

Today we in the Imphal Times is drawing the attention of the state government in regard to the failed traffic regulations in Imphal city. Good works are seen being taken up by the transport department in qualifying individuals to drive their vehicles. Police department too help the transport department authority to give penalty to those driving vehicle without proper valid license for driving vehicles. These few initiatives are worth appreciations.
But who are actually following the traffic regulation in the roads of Imphal City. At any of the junction where traffic police are assigned none of the vehicle follows the rules and regulation of how to stop vehicle on the directives of the traffic police. Except for one or two drivers none stopped before the line drawn near the Zebra crossing when a signed to stop the vehicle was shown.
Above this, today’s unorganized way of diverting traffic movement without prior notifications reveals that it is not the public but also the government machineries that is making the traffic management a murky scene.  
The standard of Imphal  city is shown by the way that traffic movement is being managed in a systematic ways.
Each time when the issue about traffic regulation came in the limelight, some traffic police will be seen on roadside of crowded Imphal city stopping vehicles to check their documents, license etc.
But the fact is that while doing so public face more inconveniences with the road more crowded.
Everybody knows it is illegal to drive vehicle without license or proper registration certificate of the vehicle.
But sometimes people use to forget things that were supposed to be with them.
But it is not necessary that all the vehicle driver were halted and checked as long as they follows the traffic rules.
Saying so checking can be done at somewhere where people will not be disturbed and not at the middle of the city like the one seen near GM Hall.
Traffic police should be more focus on smooth flow of vehicles and should find who do not understand the meaning of stoppage line drawn a feet away from the zebra crossing.
Thanks to the government, Imphal today sees electronic traffic signal at the traffic island at the western gate of Historic Kangla ford.
Some of the difficulties faced by traffic policemen were somehow relieve.
But are the people following the electronic traffic signal? Had the traffic police on duty fined any violators at that point?
The fact remains that the concerned authorities have failed or perhaps lacks proper understanding on how to manage the traffic regulations.
The short term policies and systems being implemented from time to time in an attempt to ease the congestions and traffic jams have not been able to alleviate the problem in any way, on the contrary these ad-hoc measures have managed to confuse the public and compound the problem the authorities have been trying to solve.
The meeting of the Traffic regulation and parking committee convened by Chief Minister some months back is not of much help, and one can only wonder if words of the Chief Minister are being converted into realities by the authority of the concern department.
Queries put up to the concerned departments have only resulted in more bewildering responses- a classic example of the effectiveness of passing the buck around that has been at work in all government set ups.
While formulation of policies and systems to control and regulate traffic may be a beginning in the right direction, the fact remains that the increasing number of vehicles need additional space to accommodate them and juggling acts of the traffic system by the experts, however efficient and experienced they may be, will not bear fruit.
Construction of additional parking spaces at strategic locations, bypasses and flyovers, and most importantly providing subways at important and crowded junctions will go a long way in reducing these problems.
Construction of public utilities does not automatically guarantee improvement- their proper usage is as important- an obvious example being the use of footpaths by the vendors and shopkeepers to stock and ply their goods forcing the pedestrians to walk on the road.
The need to streamline and re-orient the traffic police personnel is also being felt by the public.
Turning a blind eye to the irregularities being committed by the drivers of various public and commercial transport vehicles in consideration for a “quick handshake” has been well documented- despite the dangers and inconveniences such greedy acts causes.
The present government ministers and high ranking officials may not be feeling the burden such traffic jams causes as they seem to have a prerogative of the right of use of the road over the common public but unless some concrete steps are taken up very soon, the only option that would be available to them would be to use their feet with their retinue of escorts and assistants wading through the impossible traffic- surely a distracting relief for the stranded common public on the road.

Published in Editorial

By - Dr.Aniruddha Babar
“…….The ruling side knows why this legislation is being brought, we also know why they have come up with this legislation, the people also know… I just want to warn the government that… itihaas ki aankhon ne wo falak bhi dekhe hain, lamhon ne galti ki aur sadiyon ne saza payi hain… (History has been witness to episodes where eons had to pay for a momentary mistake…) Today, you are going to commit a big mistake…..
~ Shri. Manish Tiwari, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, 9th December, 2019, Debate in Loksabha on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019.
The citizenship Act 1955 was the first provision of the Indian government that informed about how the citizenship of India can be acquired and what could be the grounds for acquiring citizenship. According to this Act, an individual could gain the Indian citizenship if they were born in India, have resided in India for a long period or have Indian parentage. The main aim of this legislation was to prohibit the illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship. According to this Act, any individual who enters India with forged documents and invalid passport was considered as illegal migrant. In the year 2014, the Citizenship Rule was proposed to be amended by introducing a Legislative Bill, under which religion was to be considered as the explicit ground for awarding citizenship.
This step was taken ‘evaluating’ the situation specifically of the Hindus as “vulnerable” especially in Pakistan and therefore, the Citizenship Act of 1955 was proposed to be amended specifically to accommodate Hindu migrants. In the year 2016, Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was presented in the parliament in order to bring some significant changes in the existing legislation. This bill was mainly to consider the problems that the refugee population is facing and that such population is deprived of many facilities and rights in India because of their illegal immigrant status. The existing law did not allow the immigrants to obtain the citizenship of India provided they must have resided in India or have been in the central government service for the last 12 months and at least 11 years of the preceding 14 years, and other qualifications as specified in Section 6 (1) of the Citizen Act, 1955. However, the latest amendment “in question” can bring significant changes and can increase the movement of immigrants from Bangladesh to North-East India, which is a major reason of concern for Northeastern states.
The Bill provides that, illegal migrants belonging to specified minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan will not be treated as illegal migrants under the Act, making them all eligible for Indian citizenship.  These minority communities are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.  This implies that illegal migrants from these countries who are Muslims, other minorities who do not belong to the above groups e.g. Jews or Atheists who do not identify with a religious group will not be eligible for citizenship.  The question is whether this provision violates the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution because it provides differential treatment to illegal migrants on the basis of their religion. Article 14 guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners.  It only permits laws to differentiate between groups of people if the rationale for doing so serves a reasonable purpose.  The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill does not explain the rationale behind differentiating between illegal migrants on the basis of the religion they belong to.
However, according to Government the increasing vulnerability of the population of the  Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis in the neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh resulted in increasing the illegal migration of these people to India, which led to the development and formulation of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. This Bill had resulted in relaxing the eligibility criteria for the selection of the immigrants and included six minority communities or people, who came to India before 2014. The minimum requirement of the residency period was 11 years in the earlier Act, which is now reduced to 5 years (In 2016 Bill, it was 6 years).
The proposed amendment in the Bill has also raised some significant concerns and oppositions. The first reason of opposition is that religion has never been used as the ground for making the difference between citizen and non-citizens. Therefore, the Civil Society groups have called this bill as the “communally motivated humanitarianism”. This bill is also considered to be increasing inequality, as it does not include the Shias or Ahmadiyya’s or Mohajirs in Pakistan, who are also the oppressed, discriminated and persecuted minorities. Article 14 of the Indian constitution provides equality to everyone, however differentiating on the grounds of religion can be a significant violation of the Indian constitution. Some even believe that this bill will also stamp the countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan as the institutions that perpetuate religious oppression and will also negatively affect the bilateral relations.
Since the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lower House of Parliament in 2016, there has been a significant unrest among the people from the North-East states of India. People from North-East and mainly from Assam have significantly protested against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. There are various social political and economic implications of the Bill that could affect the Northeast Indian states. The people from Northeast states are significantly concerned about their status in their states. They fear that this bill will increase the number of immigrants in their states that would affect the social and economic benefits that they receive. For example, the indigenous people living in Mizoram fear that the entry of the Buddhists Chakmas from Bangladesh will take the advantage of the bill and will migrate in significant number. The tribal communities from Meghalaya and Nagaland are worried about the Bengali migrants. The tribal people living in the Northeast state have developed their own social, political and economic environment. They have their own traditional and cultural system of living that could be significantly affected by the entry of migrants from Bangladesh or other countries. The government of Manipur want to implement the Inner Line Permit System in order to stop the immigrants from entering into the state. The Indigenous National party and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura are also against the bill as they fear that their tribal status will be affected by this bill.
However, as per the latest version of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 which has been introduced and passed in Lok Sabha on 9th of December, 2019 have made certain changes in the original draft of 2016 Bill. As per 2019 CAB Bill, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, where Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable, will be kept out of the purview of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The ILP regime is under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. In terms of Section 2 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, the Inner Line Permit system is prevalent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. Moreover, Under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, autonomous councils and districts were created in tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. The autonomous councils and districts enjoy certain executive and legislative powers. They will also be exempted from the purview of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. However, the question arises as to whether these so called ‘protected’ regions would also be able to escape by taking a shelter of ‘Inner Line Permit System’ from the ‘indirect’ impact of the influx of large number population in the neighbouring regions?
Demographic change is the first social, political and an economic issue that have raised the concern of the Northeast people. The decades of illegal migration have been ongoing in Tripura and Assam, but through this bill such immigration would become legal and the already existing communities will likely to lose their demographic status. People from Assam fear that their language will become secondary, their culture would be distorted and their political rights would be lost. Another reason of the significant opposition of the Bill in Assam is that this Bill is against the Assam Accord which was signed on 15th of August 1985 between representatives of Government of India and the leaders of Assam Movement in New Delhi declared “March 24, 1971” as the cut-off date for illegal immigrants; however, the proposed Bill moves the cut-off date for illegal immigrants – for only six religions - by more than 43 years to December 31, 2014. A six years long agitation followed against illegal migrants from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), which then culminated with the signing of an agreement called the Assam Accord. The citizenship Amendment Bill also contradicts with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which is a roster of all those who settled in Assam up to the midnight of March 24, 1971. It may be noted that, Bengali Hindus (from Bangladesh) who were declared illegal immigrants by the NRC are now legal by the current clauses of the bill. This nullifies the process of NRC and seriously affects the demographic character of the region.
The Assam Accord and the NRC set the cut off of the citizen irrespective of their religious status. For becoming the citizen of Assam, the tribal people and other population of the state have to prove that their ancestors were the residents of the state before March 25, 1971. However, due to the Bill, the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, who came before 1971 would become the citizen of the state affecting the existing population and their social status.
States like Manipur and Tripura have a significant number of the Hindu population, but the Bill may result in implementing the communally driven agenda, which can result in creating a political void. The economy of the states includes the employment and job opportunities for the resident population and the existing laws provide priority to them to participate in the economic system. However, the Bill would result in making the immigrants and refugees the citizen of the states and the opportunities for employment and job would be divided between the existing citizens and new immigrant citizens.
However, on the other hand, a fact needs to be taken into consideration that, India is located in a rough neighbourhood surrounded by strategically hostile nations and fragile democracies from where influx of people due to persecution is always a possibility. Given our ethos, traditions, and practices it is surprising that India have not yet evolved a refugee policy. India do not have a national refugee law and is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and its related 1967 Protocol - which set the basic standards of treatment to be meted out to refugees of which the most fundamental is non-refoulment. However, our not signing the aforesaid Convention and Protocol does not absolve us from observing the basic humanitarian law relating to refugees including the principle of non-refoulment as we are signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-1966) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Torture Convention-1984). Also, Article 14 of the UDHR, Article 13 of the ICCPR-1966, and Article 3 of the Torture Convention-1984, each expresses a commitment to protect refugees. Additionally, the right to refoulment is internationally recognized today as a part of customary international law. Article 51(c) of the Indian Constitution directs the State to respect international law and treaty obligations. Customary international law has been held by the Supreme Court to be part of international law.
Moreover, it needs to be reiterated that the intention and motivation regarding the Bill which the central government have been reflecting can best be resolved by India ratifying the UNHCR Refugee Convention. Surprisingly India is one of the only democracies in the world not to have signed the Convention. This has led to inconsistent approaches in dealing with refugees and economic migrants. The Refugee Convention provides clear guidance on all refugees, including repatriating them voluntarily to home countries once conditions for such repatriation become feasible.
The Lok Sabha passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on 9th December, 2019 which is the big blow to the Constitutional fabric of India as it is in straight and direct violation of Art. 14, Art.15, Art. 21 and also the Basic Structure of Constitution as given by the Supreme Court of India in Keshavananda Bharthi Vs State of Kerala wherein Chief Justice Sarv Mittra Sikri, writing for the majority, indicated that the basic structure consists of the supremacy of constitution, A republican and democratic form of government, The secular character of the Constitution, Maintenance of the separation of powers, The federal character of the Constitution. Moreover in S.R. Bommai Vs Union of India hon’ble Supreme Court observed that…. “Notwithstanding the fact that the words ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’ were added in the Preamble of the Constitution in 1976 by the 42nd Amendment, the concept of Secularism was very much embedded in our constitutional philosophy…..”. The observations that the Supreme Court of India made support us to reflect upon the true character of the constitution. Secularism is not simply a dead word, but rather it is a spirit that should form a part of every action that government takes in the name of ‘The People of India’. Secularism must be understood as a basic feature of our Constitution. The words and the clauses of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 does not reflect the secular spirit that the Constitution of India had born with. Moreover, this Bill does not stand Constitutional with the defence of the doctrine of ‘Reasonable Classification’. At the outset, it should be made clear that the Article 14 of the Constitution of India does not forbid reasonable classification of the target population (for the purpose of legislation) which must not be “arbitrary, artificial or evasive” but must be based on some real and substantial bearing a just and reasonable relation to the object sought to be achieved by the legislation. In the light of CAB 2019 being violative of Art. 14 it may further be noted that the Article 14 applies where equals are treated differently without any reasonable basis. But where equals and unequals are treated differently, Article 14 does not apply. Which simply mean that ‘EQUALS CANNOT BE TREATED UNEQUALLY’ This position of law has been well settled in different cases like D.S. Nakara V. Union of India, Madhu Limye V. Supdt. Tihar Jail Delhi, Sanaboina Satyanarayana V. Govt of Andhra Pradesh, Tamiladu Electricity Board V. Veeraswamy.
It needs to be understood that Citizenship Law defines a country’s political and constitutional identity and character. Laying down rules that determines membership in our political community only on the basis of one’s religious beliefs completely violates this principle. The bill is not “religion and country neutral”.  Linking religion with citizenship issue is against the spirit of our history, civilisation, culture and of our Constitution. A great nation like India that has welcomed everyone with open arms throughout its history of thousands of years can’t afford have a very narrow version of ‘Universal Brotherhood’. Citizenship can’t be linked with state, religion, caste, creed and be country specific. It should be universal.  
A compact association of South Asian nations, with free movement of people, ideas, cultures and commodities can be founded only on the basis of respecting and protecting the diversity of the region. As people from Assam and other CAB affected regions believe, that while on the one hand the present Indian government seeks to divide refugees on the basis of religion, on the other hand, it has turned the clause 6 of Assam Accord (originally designed to protect the Assamese and other indigenous communities) into a complete non-operational mode. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 may have far reaching consequences in the entire Eastern India which seeks to erode the very basis of unity centering on language of different nations and nationalities and replace it by so called cultural unity based on religion.
 In the present form, despite the fact that the Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha it is not yet ready to become an Act. Many people from the affected areas including that of Assam believe that the Bill is rushed, ill-conceived, politically motivated, anti-constitutional and ambiguous and in its present form it would do more harm than good. Moreover, any Law or a Policy that threatens the identity of people needs to be widely debated on every possible public platform. The Constitution of India upholds the Principle of Equality. When the Constitution of India which has been drafted by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar that exists on the pillars of the eternal principles of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, does not permit any sort of discrimination among the citizens of India, then on what ground-legal or moral, can the  discrimination be made by the government while granting citizenship?
(The Author expresses his humble gratitude to Madam Asela Rothrong for taking out time from her busy schedule to review this article. He is a Former Advocate and is presently serving as Asst. Professor of Political Science, Tetso College, Dimapur. He can be reached at E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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